TAUNTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Police in Taunton are investigating after a hoax 911 call drew a large police and law enforcement presence and prompted a neighborhood evacuation on Friday afternoon.
According to Taunton Chief of Police, Edward J. Walsh, Police received a 911 call at 3:11 p.m. on Friday afternoon "from a VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phone in which a male caller told dispatchers he had murdered his girlfriend and was intending to then harm himself at a home on Williams Street."
Multiple police, fire and EMS units responded along with the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLEC) SWAT team and trained police negotiators. But when police arrived, no one was home. They made contact with the resident of the address, who they say was in another city at the time. The man told police he was unaware of anything out of the ordinary happening at his home. It was then determined that the 911 call was a hoax, and after sweeping the area for anything out of the ordinary, residents were allowed to return to their homes around 5:30 p.m.
Police said it appears that this is a case of “swatting,” in which a prank call is made to emergency services, attempting to draw a large number of armed police officers to a particular address. According to Taunton Police, it has been recognized as a criminal phenomenon by the FBI since at least 2008.
The hoax call remains under investigation.
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports